16 October 2013

We've got a new website!

After much thought and consideration, we've got a brand new website at http:www.redtailarts.com!
We're still in the process of getting set up, but it we have a good start so far!

06 July 2013


 One of the most notable birds that visitors to the Outer Banks are drawn to is the pelican.  It is an amazing site to watch these huge birds glide in over the dunes.

New Paint~

I've been away for quite a while, but I've been working on a lot of different and new things.  Mainly trying to find new paints that will work better for my use on feathers.  The feathers have a challenging texture to work with, never mind the thinness. 
After a lot of experimenting and a trip to the art shop, I found what seems to be a perfect match!  This is only a single coat of paint, compared to the normal 2 or more of the past feathers.  Its so exciting!

There are so many different types of paint to go through, and so many different brands.  And the prices go from $1.50 to $20 for a little tube.  So experimenting can get quite pricey if there's not a good way to bring the choices down.  What I've settled on is a type of gouache, which has a relation to acrylics.  It has so much more pigment!  The yellows are the most impressive with this one!

I've also given a few new brushes a shot from Beste.  They're still very tiny, with most of them going from 0 to 10/0.  It may just be my excitement, but they seem to be able to give me a bit finer of lines with a bit more reliability (as in the dragonfly wings)

24 February 2013

A New Style of Clog

Replicating designs, as I mentioned in a previous post, has always been a huge challenge.  Painting the clogs in the more common style requires not only replication, but symmetry as close to perfection as possible.  To help myself work up to doing more elaborate designs I've started working on something a bit different.

Sometimes you can have a unified design without the direct implication of symmetry.  It gives a contrast between the two shoes, but this style of landscape makes it seem as if a whole painting was trimmed into shoes. They're enjoyable to do, gives me the challenge of replicating a design, but presents an opportunity to not be overwhelmed with challenge quite yet.  This also means that I'm more comfortable doing some more elaborate designs, like the osprey over there.  I'm looking forward to creating a few more with pelicans, seagulls, and a few other shore birds!

04 February 2013

Black Tail Rattlesnake & Orry Martin

First feather I've painted in a LONG time.  While stalking around Facebook, I came across Orry Martin: Texas Snake Hunter.  Do you know how difficult it is to find excellent reference images for snakes?  I know there is a lot of fear surrounding them, but I've never seen so many blurred photos from a distance than when trying to look for snakes.  There's also a large amount of images where they are striking or stretching...which is just unappealing as a painting.  I was excited for several reasons as I was looking over his page, the first being that he had tons of beautiful photos from a lot of venomous species.

The second is that he is taking on a huge mission to stop the way rattlesnake round ups are done.  I will be the first to say I have a love for snakes.  I have two at home, and have little issue picking up the non-venomous ones outside.  But these round ups catch a large number of rattlesnakes, rip their fangs out, stitch their mouth shut, and then use them for sick entertainment.  Below is an important video on why these are something to be stopped made by Orry in his quest to spread the word.

 So Orry is having a fundraiser for a round up where no wild snakes are harmed!  Why is this important? Other than the fact they are absolutely amazing animals, they are a vital part to nature.  You don't have to like them, but there's no denying how they help keep nature in balance just by what their diet consists of.  He's even having giveaway's on his Facebook page (link is above) every month as he tries to raise the funds to be able to do this.

 After getting over my excitement, I sent an inquiry as to using his lovely photos as future reference images for my work.  I hadn't painted in a while, but I thought this would be the perfect inspiration.

I quickly got the go-ahead and compliments on my work.  There was a half-joking comment made about a free sample, and while I don't normally do that kind of thing, I figured this is a wonderful cause and anything I could do to help get the word out and support is well worth it.

So I chose a headshot of a Northern Blacktail Rattlesnake, dusted off my brushes (metaphorically, I promise they are actually well taken care of) and went to work.

Snakes are a bit difficult to get right because of the number of scales, I can't just smoosh paint and hope it works out alright.  But I feel it turned out beautifully!  I'm looking forward to sharing more in the future!  In the mean time...go check out those links above and help support Orry Martin and the rattlesnakes!

A New Path Along the Road

I met a really fantastic woman in Nags Head, NC that ran a clog shop.  It's called Chameleon Clogs and if you ever visit the Outer Banks it is in the new Food Lion plaza on Hwy 12.  A friend had shared one of my feathers with her and it just so happened that she was looking for local artists to help with hand-painting some designs.  All of this happened during a party at her shop where I got to not only see the finished products, but watch the creation of some of her woven clog designs from start to finish.
The main challenge for me is that it has to be a mirror image. Normally, I do one shot paintings. I find something inspiring and I put it into a painting or other design. Very rarely do I duplicate, let alone mirror. But I am always up for a challenge!  My first design is a bit simpler than what I do with my feathers, which made it easier to replicate for the clogs.  They are approved and I am expecting more blanks to make some more dragonflies and try out a few other designs that are cooking in my head.  This is a really exciting and unexpected opportunity that I am happy to have a chance to take part of!

Winter Wedding in Winnipeg

 I had a fantastic opportunity to create wedding jewelry for a bridal party!  I do really love creating things for people.  There is something super exciting about creating a special piece for a person.  These were to celebrate the marriage of two of my dearest friends from Canada.

When I make personalized jewelry, it help for me to know the person.  Are they ostentatious?  Do they tend to dress up often?  What is their personal style?  What is their personality like?  If you've ever browsed a lot of jewelry shops or sites you start to notice that each and every piece seems to be suited for someone special.  There are huge, chunky necklaces just as often as there are dainty charms on delicate chains.  So, in a way, I was really fortunate to have a good friend as a client!

I wasn't given many variables to work with.  She wanted them to be mostly amethyst and the other wedding color was sapphire.  Other than that, she wanted it to be a Red Tail Arts original.  Would you believe having less guidelines is more difficult than having a long list sometimes?  After scouring Fire Mountain Gems website for a while, I finally found the types of beads I wanted to use.  There was high-grade dark Amethyst and lavender Amethyst spheres, sapphire Swarovski crystal, glass seed beads lined with silver, and some tab-clasps in sterling.  The hook clasp on the necklace was an after thought, because who really wants to struggle with a tab style clasp on a necklace?

Strangely enough, once I got the beads all the initial design idea I've had in my skull fell away.  My initial goal was to have a different balance, more silver and less amethyst so it was almost like ice with amethyst peeking out.  To be honest...it looked silly.  So I took a few days and just played around with the beads.  I probably made about 7 different designs before settling on the final.  It has just the perfect amount of silver accent, and the Swarovski brings out the color and shimmers just right in person.  Off it went for the bride's approval, and they were all shipped shortly after.

Sometimes the creation of jewelry doesn't go exactly as I plan, but it always turns out just the way it's supposed to.

Cross Stitch for Christmas

I wanted to do something really special for the holidays this year.  It can be difficult to create gifts sometimes, or maybe that is just my perspective.  I mean, how many dreamcatchers can you give someone?  So I am always looking to do new things.  I used to do cross stitch when I was younger, so when I saw these dishtowels in WalMart that had a customizing panel on them...perfect!  But what I didn't figure was the difficulty of trying to come up with a design to put on them.  So after half a notebook of graph paper and a few sacrificed pencils I came up with two designs to go to two very close people in my life.

So the hardest part was done, now it was just the time consuming stitching.  It ended up to be kind of a meditative process, but the best was still being able to look at the finished product.

Though I highly doubt this will become a running thing in my line of work, it was definitely a lot of fun to make.  I may consider creating custom designs in the future, but the construction takes too long compared to a lot of other work that I do.

If you're looking to do your own cross stitch as a gift, remind them that because of the delicate stitching it is only to be hand-washed and not put into a washing machine!

18 September 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

Yep, I've been slacking.  I will fully admit that I haven't painted a feather since April of 2012.  I've done some dreamcatchers and I've learned some traditional beading.  I've learned brick stitch and how to do rosettes from a fantastic Mohawk woman.  I've taught myself peyote, square, spiral and how to do free-form flowers.  The pouches I've been doing have everything stitched together so delicately you can't see the sinew on either side.  I'm still learning though, so no photos of leather work till I decide whether I'm going to keep it up or not.

 I have to say, that even with that I haven't been very busy lately.  I've been out enjoying life.  I've started helping out the museum I work at with a new Facebook Fan Page and a Page On G+.  That means taking loads of photos, doing some editing, and lots of research!  It's taken me in a different focal direction that I think I needed to appreciate my own work a bit more.

Though I can tell it's time to get back into getting dirty again.  My hands have been itching to go.  I have a few pieces that I need to get finished up and a few more that I need to get working on.

On a good note, I may not have been painting, but I've been able to catch some wildlife that has been coming around me lately.  So I've shared a few of the photos so you can see what I see.

Pandora Sphinx
There are little green anoles everywhere, and I do mean everywhere.  On windows, on the porch, in the museum, in the bathroom, on the car...everywhere.  I can't complain as they eat a ton of mosquitoes every chance they get.  They are kinda cute too.

There are cicada's flying into my porch just about every night.

Tersa Sphinx
Most amazing story, I had a Pandora Sphinx moth attach itself to my shoulder for about two days.  He sat there as I worked, did laundry, cooked and cleaned.  It was a very odd experience, but I know it had a deep significance. 
The Pandora Sphinx, sitting with me

Shortly after my Pandora friend passed away, a Tersa Sphinx moth came to stay with me for a while after returning home from work.  They are both Sphinx Moths, also considered hummingbird moths.  Fantastic creatures!

A visiting Tersa Sphinx
And lastly we have had American Green Tree Frogs just as many places as the Anoles!  Every window in the evening has had a frog.  My porch has at least two at any given time.  Though the photo I have was a tiny little one that I almost passed right by.  It was so tiny it could have fit on my thumb nail!    Don't be fooled by the size though, we can hear these little guys calling out from several yards away as if they're in your ear! 

American Green Tree Frog, look how tiny!
While I haven't been painting much as of late, I certainly have had a lot of animal visitors.  There have also been snakes, egrets, hawks, owls, and praying mantis' that I've not gotten a good shot at.  Maybe they're going "Here...here's some good inspiration...GET BACK TO WORK! =)

06 April 2012

3 Feather Wolf

Way back in December, I had a request for a fan painted with wolves.  Two cubs if I could.  She wanted it by April for her man as a gift.  Now to be honest, I am ridiculous when it comes to commission pieces and I make myself nervous to the point I'm scared to work on it.  So that being said, I waited till mid March to start it.  Apparently...I work better under pressure

It turned out really great!  It was a bit of a challenge to work across three feathers.  I don't have the photo of the ends because the shafts still need cleaned up and wrapped, but hopefully everything in this go round will eventually make it much easier to do another fan in the future!

19 February 2012

Hatching Baby Dragons

 There's a new line of creation that have been started!  Little baby dragons!

They're not my normal medium of work.  I'm more of a 2-D kinda gal all and all.  But my other half started playing with polymer clay and I wanted to give it a shot.

It's a lot different than the regular clay I am used to.  It doesn't harden on you, or dry out and crack.  But that can also be one of the biggest pains in the rear!  There's been a couple times I've had one just about done, sitting on a shelf, and someone (or some cat) bumps it.

And let me tell you...picking fur out of polymer clay.  Does anyone else remember that if you had pets and playdoh as a kid...of it fell on the floor it was pretty much done for?  Unless you like furry creations that is.

But while he makes little gnomes, and really strange figures, I decided to take a cute and adorable route and try my hand at little dragons.  The ones on the very top image are my first two.  I started out with the large one.  She took a few hours to finish, mostly because I kept knocking little details off.

About that time, Branden, my partner in crime, decided he was going to make dragons that fit inside bottle caps.  Not to be outdone, I made a tiny little baby; which you also see in the first photo.  The little one was surprisingly more difficult, as it's hard to hold teeny tiny dots for details.

After the first one, they kind of exploded.  I would sit and watch an episode of something on Netflix and make a dragon.  This can be a bit interesting when someone asks "How long did it take you to make one" and your response is "Somewhere around an episode of Bones".

But really, once I got a few down, I started to try out a few different styles.  Some have multiple colors in the wings, one has swirled fins instead of wings and paws, one is even fallen over.

I haven't found a particular style that I want to stick with just yet, or if I just want to continue to make unique ones.  Either way, I hope that you find them as enjoyable as I do.  For purchasing options, follow the link to my Etsy shop.  Feel free to request a different color or something unique.  Challenges are always fun!

23 September 2011

Bob's Dreamcatcher

 Dreamcatchers have long been associated with native culture.  Traditionally Ojibwe (Chippewa), they now span into nearly every tribe...each one putting their own twist to the beautiful craft.

This was done for a friend of mine down on the island.  He wanted a unique piece for his wife's birthday.  All I was given was that it was to be big, she liked purple, and sea shells.

The branches are from the shrubbery right outside my front door, so the hoop creation was the easy part.  The shells are mostly collected right off the beaches in Hatteras Island, with exception of the cowery and little snail like shells from a cannibalized, and very tacky, necklace.  The beads are all glass in shades of purple and green (being his favorite color).  And the feathers are pheasant, guinea hen, and wild turkey.  As for the size, it's a bit over a foot at the widest spot.